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Research Highlight | Materials Science Division

Imaging composition redistribution in-situ in alloy nanoparticles

In a study published in the Physical Review Letters, researchers used Bragg coherent diffraction imaging to reveal the compositional evolution of nanoparticles and demonstrate its effect on synthesis of electrocatalysts.

Scientific Achievement

Bragg coherent diffraction imaging (BCDI) revealed that surface reactions influence and redistribute the internal composition of binary alloy nanoparticles under oxidizing and reducing environments at elevated temperatures.

Significance and Impact

The observed dynamic composition redistributions indicate that compositional evolution must be taken into account for rational design of nanoscale electrocatalytic materials.

Research Details

  • Structural and compositional changes in Pt/Rh alloy nanoparticles were measured with BCDI in-situ under oxidizing and reducing gas environments at temperatures of 550˚ -700˚C.
  • Using a new BCDI analysis developed to spatially resolve alloy composition, significant redistribution was observed between the particle core and surface at a few-minutes time scale.
  • The average composition of Rh and the surface Rh composition were found to vary by formation and reduction of RhOX.

Work was performed at Argonne National Laboratory.


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